Judge now weighs closing arguments, evidence in Blackstone trial

Judge now weighs closing arguments, evidence in Blackstone trial

WORCESTER, Mass. — The prosecution and defense made their closing arguments Friday afternoon on the question of whether or not Erika Murray caused the death of one of her children and put her other children's lives in danger because of the filthy conditions inside her Blackstone home.

"When you look inside the house of squalor, you don't find evidence of a murder. You find suffering, and fear and abuse and mental illness and terrible isolation and loneliness," defense attorney Keith Halpern said.

During the eight days of testimony, the defense tried to make the case Murray suffers from a mental health condition that left her in the dark about how bad the home's conditions actually were.

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"And you find innocent kids who were hurt by it all," Halpern said. "Not out of meanness, not with any intent to cause to anyone."

But prosecutors painted a different picture, saying Murray caused the death of one of her children and the homes' neglect was calculated.

"Fecal matter throughout can spread disease, infection, illness and even death," Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hodgens said. "And that was exacerbated by flies, fleas and maggots."

Murray was initially charged with the deaths of two of the three children's remains found -- but the judge dismissed the second one because there was no evidence the child was not stillborn. On the final day of testimony before closing arguments -- a rebuttal witness for the prosecution testified he could not find any mental health issues.

"Nobody really reported that this is a woman with some sort of underlying mental health condition that went unnoticed," forensic psychologist Dr. Fabian Saleh said. "Everyone said look. She was doing fine."

The judge will now go through the evidence, including massive piles of medical records, to come up with a verdict. The timeline for that decision is unknown.

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